We’d love to introduce you to Brad, founder of one of the best online dating advice sites out there. He’s used online dating and to find out the results read on…
We normally save this for last, but since we’re confident in the answer we thought we’d ask you what you think about online dating?
Yeah, this one is pretty obvious: I’m a big fan of online dating. When I first started dating online, that wasn’t so much the case…it was a real struggle early on. However, as I got better at it, I really started to enjoy using it. And I met my wife using online dating so clearly having that success only strengthens my positive feelings. I also like that online dating has become noticeably more acceptable over the years that I’ve been giving dating advice. I think this makes it far more accessible for those who are worried about what others think of them (and unfortunately, many people would rather be alone than judged). Not that I have anything against “traditional dating” but it’s great to see more and more people open to what the internet has to offer.
Tell us more about yourself?
I started using online dating in 2004 and had a miserable time at first. After a while, I got the hang of things and eventually was going on multiple first dates a week (and enjoying my online dating life!) In 2005, I met the woman I would eventually marry one day short of using online dating for a year.
I had kept notes about what worked and what didn’t work and in 2007 I created my online dating advice site around these. I wasn’t very committed to running my site at that time but in 2009 I decided to start putting more effort into offering advice and I’ve been actively helping people since that time.
I give advice in my spare time and my “real” job is with something called data analytics (or business intelligence). I basically work with numbers and statistics all day long, but I enjoy it. My wife and I celebrated our 5th anniversary early this year and we’re now expecting our first baby who is due in October.
Why did you set up the online dating guide?
I was motivated by two main reasons. The first was that I found myself giving a lot of advice to my friends when they found out how much success I had dating online. I really enjoyed helping them and that encouraged me to consider helping more people. The second reason was that when I was dating online, I thought it was really hard to find honest, helpful advice specifically for online dating. There seemed to be so much advice around sex but very little advice on the details of moving through the steps of online dating or understanding the different pitfalls. I wanted to offer advice that was more personal where I could talk about what worked for me and encourage others as the process can be quite frustrating.
What advice would you say to people using online dating for a serious reason like trying to find someone to marry?
First, I believe online dating is a great option if you’re interested in marriage. However, I think you need to realize that not everyone is using online dating for the same reason. Often setting a flag in your profile that says something like “looking for a long-term relationship” isn’t enough to ensure you date like-minded people. I think it’s important to explicitly talk about goals in regards to marriage in your profile if that’s something that is important to you.
I suppose that might sound obvious, but I see a lot of people create their profiles so that they can be attractive to everyone. They don’t want to include anything that someone else might not want. They want to avoid being eliminated by anyone so they write rather generic profiles and talk about desires that, in the long-term, won’t really contribute much to a relationship. So, I’d encourage everyone who’s looking for marriage to be honest about that. You don’t have to get in people’s faces over it or make your profile heading “I NEED TO GET MARRIED” or anything like that! But I do think you need to make it clear what you’re looking for even if that will eliminate some people from considering you.
Did you make any mistakes when online dating?
Oh sure! I made plenty of mistakes. In the beginning of my time using online dating, I tried limit my communication to one woman at a time. In the old-style of dating, it’s often considered impolite to pursue many relationship possibilities at once and I didn’t understand that online dating was different. So I tried applying old-style dating rules to online dating and that slowed down my opportunities significantly.
I also didn’t know how long first email attempts should be and looking back, I’m sure I scared a few women with my 2-page long emails. Once I wrote an email like this just based on a woman’s profile heading…I thought it was an amazing email at the time but now I understand that I probably just came off as odd!
There were plenty others but I think those two were the ones that were the biggest ones for me personally.
What top three ‘rules’ should you stick to whilst online dating?
Well, I don’t know if there is a universal top three but I’ll talk about three that I think are important.
First, I think you need to understand that online dating isn’t easy. It looks like it should be easy. A website full of single people who don’t want to be single? Sounds like that would be a pretty easy place to find a date! And then we start using online dating and find that some people don’t respond, or they do respond and then they disappear, or the respond and they get really, really weird. There are plenty of issues that can arise but the point is that many people assume online dating will be simple and then when it’s not they immediately give up. I’d suggest that everyone realize that online dating will take some work and make a commitment to trying it for a certain time period. I think this can be very helpful in ensuring that you give online dating a proper try.
Second, I think you need to be trying to date multiple people at once. I’m always surprise at how many people resist this idea but there are a lot of benefits. There is the obvious benefit of meeting more people which means more opportunities to find “the one”. But there are also less obvious benefits like getting experience on first dates, being less nervous as you talk with new people and feeling less pain or frustration when one relationship doesn’t work out. When I changed from trying to date one woman at a time to talking to many women at once, my online dating life went from frustrating to something that was enjoyable.
Finally, I’d avoid making too many assumptions. I get a lot of emails from people who say something like this: “We had a great first date but then he didn’t text me the next day so I sent him an email and let him know that I think he’s a pig. Was that a bad idea?”. So…yeah, that’s a bad idea. I’ve seen more than a few people ruin a relationship over making an assumption. If something feels wrong, don’t accuse. Just ask.
Finally, whats been your most popular post and would you share it with our readers?
Well, it would depend on how you define popular. My posts on writing first emails are my most visited pages and have been for the last 5 years. However, the pages that generate the most reader feedback have been around the issue of men not taking down their dating profiles after they’ve entered a serious relationship (one here and another here). Apparently, this happens quite frequently and I get a lot of women who (rightly) vent about the lack of commitment from the men they are dating.